Architect Visit: A Passive Barn-Style House for the Future, Hudson Valley Edition

Ian Hague needed a place to chill out. When he acquired 75 untouched acres in New York’s Hudson Valley, the NYC fund manager (whose business focuses on Eastern Europe and Russia) envisioned a “hermitage in the forest” tailor-made to his interests: reading, building balsa wood model airplanes, driving a Tesla, and decompressing amid the treetops. He also wanted to create a state-of-the-art, low-impact retreat and enlisted sustainability specialists BarlisWedlick Architects of NYC and Hudson, New York, for the job.

After encountering a fox on the property during his first visit, Hague dubbed his Columbia County spread Fox Hall, and during the many months of collaborating with lead architect Alan Barlis and team, a multi-building compound emerged. On Gardenista, we explored the grounds, which include a reconstructed 19th-century barn, natural swimming pool (filtered entirely by plants and organic systems), and three-story porch with sauna. Today we’re touring the linchpin of the project, Hague’s built-from-the-ground-up barn-style house.

Photography by Jonny Valiant unless noted, courtesy of BarlisWedlick Architects.

the 1,800 square foot structure is a passive house: it meets a stringent  9
Above: The 1,800-square-foot structure is a passive house: It meets a stringent set of architectural standards, including “a super-insulated building envelope” and constant fresh air circulation, that Barlis says “decreases the energy required for heating by 90 percent and for cooling by 80 percent—and we’ve often seen even better results.”

The open-plan main floor is designed around floor-to-ceiling windows supplied by Intus. “The exposed timbers are reminiscent of the 19th-century dairy barn we salvaged and placed on the property,” says BarlisWedlick’s in-house interior designer Elaine Santos. “Ian brought images of whitewashed spaces to our design meetings, and so we wanted to keep the overall feeling of the house layered but light: oak floors and white walls.”

hague also likes color, so hints of navy and mustard were incorporated into the 10
Above: Hague also likes color, so hints of navy and mustard were incorporated into the neutral backdrop, though only sparingly on the main floor to avoid competing with the view. The sofa is a Jean Marie Massaud design for Environment, upholstered in vintage tent canvas. The rug is a long-haired sheepskin from Sacco Carpet.